I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
@ Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy
Through July 19
It's one of the oldest comic tropes in the book: Men think like this, while women think like that. Comedians beat it to death, of course, and it turns out to be tried-and-true for musical theater, as well, if I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, the current offering of Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, is any indication.
It's a great choice for summer entertainment: light and fluffy, familiar and not overly taxing. No new insights are unearthed here. Instead, the musical treads squarely in the footprints of the male/female observational comedy tradition. I Love You ... is a series of vignettes that revolves around the minefields of relationships. Every scenario, from dating to death, is tackled with humor and poignancy. Each scene proceeds briskly, tossing out jokes and not lingering on anything heavy for long.
The musical, which premiered a decade ago, with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, begins with the actors appearing at each corner of the stage in monks' robes as a recorded voiceover gravely intones how dynamics between men and women came to be.
In this series of sketches, the cast of four seamlessly adopt a wide range of characters, and they move into the musical numbers with the ease of square dancers. The songs are catchy enough to get them stuck in your head, complete with some memorable lyrics: One man bolsters his courage with the injunction, "Don't cry, think of Clint Eastwood."
Director Tito Hernandez and a solid design team use the Kennedy space effectively. A ramp leads from center stage to upstage, where there is a riser that supports a violinist and keyboardist.
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change may be comfort food, but like a comedian's familiar jokes, there's pleasure to be found in such surroundings.